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Tsipras rules out Russian aid for Greece

Tsipras rules out Russian aid for Greece
By Alasdair Sandford with Reuters, AFP
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Visiting Cyprus, the Greek prime minister has said that a debt agreement with European partners is "all that is on the table".


The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has appeared to rule out seeking aid from Russia, saying he will continue negotiations for a debt agreement with Europe.

The left-wing government is on a diplomatic drive of European capitals, as it seeks to replace Greece’s bailout with the EU, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Tsipras was speaking during a visit to Cyprus – his first foreign trip as prime minister, in line with tradition.

Asked whether he would seek aid from Russia, Tsipras told a news conference that a deal with Europe was all that was being considered.

But he added that he wanted the troika inspection process replaced by direct negotiations with creditors.

“This mature and necessary development, if it is confirmed, will be a very good start, a significant, institutional, positive step not only for Greece and Cyprus but also for all of Europe,” Alexis Tsipras said.

Despite vowing to ditch austerity conditions, the new Greek government is talking up a possible deal as it seeks out sympathetic ears.

Germany has replied that the troika inspectors were agreed as part of the bailout and should remain in place.

Tsipras and his finance minister Yanis Varoufakis are touring European capitals in their quest to replace Greece’s bailout accord.

No stopover in Berlin has yet been scheduled as part of the trip. A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the new Greek prime minister would be “welcome” in Berlin, but that no date had been requested by Athens.

Reports have suggested that Merkel is unlikely to agree to a bilateral meeting with Tsipras at a European summit on February 12.

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